Soon after Canon Communications acquired Design News, EDN, Packaging Digest and Test & Measurement World from Reed Business Information last March, Group Publisher Russ Pratt approached his new bosses about adding a behavioral-targeted advertising platform to cater to the new groups of buyers in Canon's portfolio.
“These are very sophisticated advertisers that are always pushing us to ask: Who are the people coming to the website and what are they doing?” Pratt said. “Canon's management team were already looking at options for behavioral targeting of website visitors, and the Design Group [Design News, EDN and TMWorld] was the perfect fit—advanced marketers looking for new ways to target an intelligent online audience.”
The plan turned out to be the spark for bigger program, announced in late August, enabling behavioral targeted advertising and content across Canon's 45 b-to-b websites, which focus on advanced, technology-based manufacturing industries.
“We knew when we acquired [the brands] that these guys were market leaders when it came to both the content they were serving up and the advertisers they were selling to,” said Jason Brown, VP-digital media at Canon. “So cross-pollination of the experience with the EDN guys and passing that over to the rest of our company was a big part of that.”
The first behavioral targeting campaign with multiple clients and campaigns was introduced on EDN.com in August. An initial test campaign conducted on EDN.com, which covers the EOEM (electronics original equipment manufacturer) sector, garnered a 49% higher click-through rate than traditional leaderboard and boom-box ad units, which typically generate a 0.2%-to-0.6% click-through rate, Pratt said.
Brown stressed that getting to buyers quicker and arming marketers with more pinpointed messaging are at the heart of behavioral targeting. “With microsites, you're looking at minimum of a quarter for the program,” he said. “But with behavioral targeting, we're going after a much smaller, but much more potent, audience than ever before; and, due to the CPM nature of the product, advertisers can buy for a day, a week or a month.”
Canon's behavioral advertising platform is currently exclusive to the company's websites, but expanding the platform to outside ad networks could be an option in the future, Brown said.
Behavioral advertising, which commands higher ad rates than traditional Web ads, has for the few years been a staple of online advertising networks and consumer-based websites, but is just starting to make inroads among b-to-b media companies and their customers.
Canon said it is among the first b-to-b publishers to use Google/DoubleClick's Boomerang for Publishers service, which tracks users online actions and interests to deliver relevant advertising and content, regardless of where the reader is roaming on Canon's media websites.
“If we find that there's a design engineer who's on EDN.com looking at microchips and then he moves over to one of our brands in the medical space, then the "cookie' moves over ... and serves him a continuous stream of relevant, targeted advertising messages,” Brown said.
Another part of the appeal for media buyers is that they can run multiple ad campaigns via behavioral targeting. “Someone who has downloaded a data sheet or a white paper can now be targeted with a different campaign than someone who has read two news articles,” Brown added. “We can help target where the reader is in the sales funnel.”
David Rowe, media director for b-to-b advertising agency Doremus, said the advantage [of behavioral targeting] is that it opens up inventory an advertiser might not otherwise buy. “With behavioral targeting, the publisher has identified individuals who have demonstrated an interest in a product category or subject matter and can serve them banners anywhere on the site, not just in relevant content areas,” he said. &BULL;